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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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seven factors and possibly to others as well.
Free Access to Materials, Information, and Services for Fertility Control. Clearly, family planning programs, designed to give full freedom to individual couples to determine the number of their children and the spacing between births, meet several of these criteria. They enhance the freedom of human beings as individuals and, indeed, give this freedom a new dimension, particularly if wives participate equally with husbands in making the decisions. Repeal of laws restricting abortion and free availability of medically safe abortions would further enhance the freedom of individual women and of married couples, and should be considered in those countries that have sufficient medical manpower and hospital facilities and in which public attitudes permit. New approaches to safe induced abortion need to be found in order to lessen the need for medical manpower and hospital facilities.
It is today possible for a full range of acceptable, easily used, and effective means of preventing births to be provided by governments to all persons of reproductive age, if necessary at nominal or no cost. Information on all these means of preventing births, on the economic, social, and health benefits of small family size, and on the cumulative nature of the burdens caused by large families can also be widely disseminated. Steps and actions can be taken to foster broad social legitimization and support of birth control, including, when circumstances permit, medically safe abortions.
Other Policies and Programs
In general, the benefits and costs for society as a whole—that is for all families and individuals in the society—of a child added in one family will be different from those for the parents. These differences* justify social intervention to influence the fertility behavior of the parents. (Another justification for such intervention is that many families need help to recognize and serve their own interests.)
Many specialists are convinced that governmental population policies to limit fertility must go beyond furnishing contraceptive materials, services, and information to individual couples. If these couples, given full freedom of
*Called "externalities" by economists. for freedom and diversity;